As you have probably read previously, I am a big advocate for microchips as a way for permanent identification of your pets. However, a microchip is NOT a replacement for an id tag. Every Yorkie owner should have an id tag on their Yorkie. Why? While a microchip permanently identifies you dog, it has to be scanned in order to be read, and only veterinarians, shelters, and some breeders have scanners. And, not all scanners pick up the same types of microchips. In case your pet is lost, you need something easily readable for the average person to be able to return your pet to you. If you want a little more about why an id tag is important, you can read more here.
Identification is important in case the unthinkable happens. I’ve had pets all my life and have always tried to keep id tags on them, but, I know what the excuses are, because I had them, too. The biggest trouble with ID tags is being able to update them. The kind I’ve usually purchased have been the engraved kinds – where you order them online or stand at the kiosk and have your name, address, and phone number engraved. Those are okay until you move or change cell phones. Lately I’ve been a bit lax in keeping id tags on my pets, more out of laziness than anything. One night while browsing the internet, I came across a pretty cool new company, PetHub. PetHub makes ID tags, but they’re not your mother’s tags!
PetHub makes id tags that the average person can use in a variety of ways to help return your pet to you. They can have your information on them for direct contact, a personalized webpage address with your pet’s profile information, a scannable QR code for direct smartphone access to your pet’s profile, and the ability for the person who locates your dog to send their GPS location, call PetHub, or contact you via email, and some of their newest id tags are NFC tap tags where no scanning is needed to access your pet’s profile.
These id tags are really cool, and you can update your pet’s profile whenever you want! After giving Catherine a haircut a couple of days ago, I took a couple of photos and was easily able to upload one to her profile, making sure it’s completely accurate.
The prospect of losing a pet is a frightening one, for sure. Nationally, of all pets reported missing, 84% reported lost were returned safely to their homes (that’s 93% for dogs and 75% for cats according to a study done by the ASPCA). For pets with a PetHub tag, 97% of all reported lost pets who had a PetHub tag were returned home in under a day, and 25% in under an hour. There are so many great things to say about this tag, so let’s get started.
First, the tags come in a variety of colors, sizes, and styles to fit anyone’s tastes. When you purchase a tag, you can choose a standard tag with PetHub’s toll free number, or you can choose a personalized tag with your pet’s name and your phone number. All tags come with a custom QR code and website address specific to that tag. You then link the tag to a profile you create for your pet that contains all of your pet’s information. Here is Catherine’s profile that I created for her id tag (click to see larger):
This is the view that I can see as the pet owner. When I received my custom id tag in the mail, I followed the instructions included to add Catherine’s information and create her online profile. I was able to enter all kinds of information, including her veterinarian contact info, any special medications, her physical description, and all of my information. Once completed, I tested out the tag by scanning it myself. This is when things got really cool. Using my iPad and a scanning app, I scanned the QR code on the tag. I was then able to see exactly what someone would see if they were to find Catherine and scan her tag. Here are the screenshots from my iPad showing the scanning and the resulting webpage (click the images to view in greater detail):
Once I scanned the tag I was given a number of options as to how to contact the owner: via email, phone, and even sending my current GPS location. The coolest part? As the owner of the pet, I was immediately sent an email with the subject,”Catherine’s profile was just viewed”. This to me is a great added tool – I would know the moment that someone scanned Catherine’s tag. This means that she has been found! Even before I am contacted by the Good Samaritan that finds Catherine, I can rest assured that she has been found and she is safe. I’m including a screenshot of the email I received (click to view in larger detail):
Not everyone has a smartphone, and in the off-chance your pet is found by someone who doesn’t have a phone capable of scanning the QR code, there are still a number of ways the finder can reach you: they can manually enter your pet’s profile url into their web browser (it’s clearly printed on the tag), they can call you directly (if you have a custom tag), or they can call PetHub (if you have a standard tag). The genius of this tag is in the number of ways that the finder can contact you.
I highly recommend these id tags! They have so many great features, it’s hard to ignore how amazing they are. The best part, the prices range from just $6.50 and up. And their free basic service includes an online account, ability to link your pet’s profile to their tag, and the 24-hour “Found Pet” hotline. The Premium service includes more features, including notifications when your pet is found, GPS map showing where your pet’s tag was scanned (if the finder updates this), 13,000 shelter database – broadcast your pet’s profile to shelters, coffee shops, and pet stores near where your pet was last seen, and partner discounts – Pet insurance, for example, is available for $19/year per pet and provides $3,000 emergency coverage. The Premium service is $3/month or $28/year or $48 for 2 years.
These tags are so cool, we contacted PetHub and they offered to give free tags to FIVE of our readers! One of those lucky 5 will also get a year of Premium service for free!
Use Rafflecopter below to enter the contest! Enter now through August 16th, 2013 for your chance to win one of 5 PetHub id tags, and one of those winners will also receive a free year of premium PetHub Service. Our winners will be chosen on August 17th! You can prepare for your victory by checking out the amazing styles PetHub offers and choosing your favorite on their website: http://www.pethub.com/shop_home